Lessons from Ashoura
In the Words of Sayyed Ali Khamenei
In what follows, Imam Khamenei poses a series of inquiries concerning the tragic events which occurred at Karbala. The aim of these questions is for us to learn lessons and take into consideration the points of weakness and the defects which had occurred in the Islamic Nation.
-What happened so that after [only] 50 years of the Prophet's death, matters reached such an extent that a person such as Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) became compelled to make such a great sacrifice?
What state did the Islamic Nation reach so that Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) felt that Islam could only be kept alive through such a degree of sacrifice?
What happened so that 20 years after the martyrdom of the Commander of the Believers (peace be upon him), the heads of his children were raised on spearheads and paraded throughout cities?
Kufa was not an irreligious city. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) would walk in its markets, enjoin its inhabitants to be righteous, and forbid them from doing evil. The sound of Quranic recitation emanated in that city during the night and day.
[But] it was the same city in which the daughters of the Commander of the Believers (peace be upon him) and female members of his family were paraded as prisoners in its markets!
What was the horrible malady which had affected the Islamic Nation to the extent that a person such as Yazid son of Muawiyah became the Caliph?
The two causes for what happened are:
1-Turning away from the remembrance of Allah and forgetting His bestowal
2-Seeking lusts and following vain desires
Even though we are living in an Islamic Society today, we might be inflicted with that malady and pain if we forget [our] doctrine, if it weakens in our minds, when each one of us is preoccupied with saving himself from the battle, when we give priority to ourselves and our interests over the interests of society, and when the love of the worldly life penetrates into our hearts.
This is how divine standards become substituted and [men like] Omar bin Saad, Shimr, and Obayullah bin Ziyad (may Allah curse them) become the leaders among us, and Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) and men like him get slaughtered and become martyred at Karbala!